Definition of dead letter in English:

dead letter

Syllabification: dead let·ter


  • 1chiefly North American A letter that is undeliverable and unreturnable, typically one with an incorrect address.
    More example sentences
    • Apparently they are working at the U.S. Post Office, in the dead letter department.
  • 2A law or treaty that has not been repealed but is ineffectual or defunct in practice.
    More example sentences
    • Why should we develop the common law to make the statute a dead letter?
    • In many ways the law has become a dead letter in Israel.
    • Some people are of the opinion that the 1689 Bill of Rights is a dead letter, but the law will need to be changed in order for this to be so; and this may be a long and tedious process.
  • 2.1A thing that is impractical or obsolete: theoretical reasoning is a dead letter to a child
    More example sentences
    • Communism is a dead letter, and nobody wants a return to military dictatorship.
    • The socialist objective is a dead letter today, but remember, it was a liability for Labor for a long time.
    • Jurisprudence, learning, and religiosity were not dead letters.

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Pronunciation: grəʊˈtɛskəri
grotesque quality or grotesque things collectively